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Ports of Stockholm and Riga Work Together to Build Sustainable Link

Stockholm Riga link
Värtahamnen located in the center of Stockholm is one of the largest port areas and serves ferry traffic (Ports of Stockholm)

Published Jun 15, 2023 4:57 PM by The Maritime Executive

Ports of Stockholm, the Freeport of Riga Authority, and Riga Ropax Terminal entered into a new agreement that will seek to restore direct service between the two ports while also building a sustainable foundation for the restored service with the support of funding from the European Union. 

Historically there had been a stable maritime daily connection between Stockholm and the Latvian capital city, Riga. Since 2010, service had been provided with a RoPax, carrying both passengers and cargo, from the Värta Terminal in Stockholm. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, an average of just over 700,000 passengers used the sea route each year, but in the spring of 2020, the shipping company operating the Riga-Stockholm route decided to suspend services due to the severe drop in passenger numbers caused by the pandemic, which made the route unsustainable financially.

“We are very much looking forward to working together with the Freeport of Riga Authority and Riga Ropax Terminal to tackle mutual challenges and explore development opportunities to minimize the environmental impact of cargo transport and passenger services at the Värtahamnen Port. Port terminals with central city locations are of major importance for the flow of both goods and passenger services. In the growing Stockholm, a well-functioning interface between city and port is extremely important,” explains Clara Lindblom, city council responsible for Ports of Stockholm.

The Ports of Stockholm, the Freeport of Riga Authority, and the Riga Ropax Terminal on June 14 signed a Memorandum of Understanding to collaborate and jointly apply to the EU for funding for their effort. They expect the collaboration will lead to the further climate and environmental development of the passenger terminals located in the hearts of the respective cities, as well as build confidence in the future reintroduction of shipping services between the two capitals.

“Riga and Stockholm have a very long history of maritime ties,” highlights Ansis Zeltins, CEO of the Freeport of Riga Authority. “The development of environmentally-friendly and future-oriented passenger infrastructure, as well as the improvement of connectivity within our port, is a key strategic goal for Freeport of Riga.”

Värtahamnen Port is part of a holistically planned and complex environment, where the new Stockholm Royal Seaport buildings and the Värta Terminal combine to form a new waterfront and entrance to Stockholm. The Freeport of Riga Authority and Riga Ropax Terminal also seek to improve connectivity between Riga and Stockholm and develop a brand new RoPax terminal in Riga. 

The goal of the current project in Riga is to complete the development of the new Ropax and welcome the first passengers in 2027. According to the organizations, by working closely they will have a better opportunity to leverage European funding to achieve the shared goals, and work together more effectively towards sustainable development, including the potential to expand maritime passenger transport.